Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Lately there has been something which increasingly grieves my heart, and I believe also grieves the Spirit of God. This is the growing lack of unity within the church.

Ephesians 4:13 says quite a mouthful on this subject;

"...until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...".

"Unity of faith" and "the knowledge of the Son of God" say a great deal to me about what we are to believe. There are many different denominations, each with their own particular beliefs regarding one facet of Christ or another. But this verse (along with many more just like it) make it plain to me that the Bride will not be made up of denominations. She will not differ in opinions or beliefs regarding Christ. As this verse says, there will be one singular "faith" and one singular "knowledge of the Son of God". In the Bride, we will all believe the same things regarding what Jesus has done and what He will do, and we will all know the same things about Him. This level of unity leaves no room for divisions like denominations.

You see, the Truth is a man and His Name is Jesus. There cannot be multiple truths. Even if one denomination has it all correct (and I don't know that this is the case), the rest of us have at least something wrong. Some believe you must baptize children or they will go to hell if they die, others believe in grace until the age of accountability. Does the former have a wrong understanding of God, or does the latter not recognize the Law? Some believe you must punish yourself for your sins and pay penance for everything in life, others believe Jesus paid all on the cross and all else is dead works. Is the former stuck in legalism or does the latter oversimplify things? For instance, if Charismatic non-denominational (Evangelical) folks have it 100% right, imagine how far off the mark traditional Catholics are. If Baptists have it all right, how wrong are those same Evangelicals?

Am I being judgmental? Is this all semantics? Shouldn't we all just get along and accept that other believers have differing beliefs? "But, none of this is critical to salvation", I can hear you say.  ...Or is it?
Matthew 7:23
says this;

"I never knew you; depart from me"

So I ask you this. At what point do all of our differences of opinion, wrong theologies and misunderstandings of Christ become an issue of "not knowing Him"? And that's the point, isn't it? God created us so we could get to know Him. When we messed all that up and put a barrier between us and God, Jesus came and died for us to let us get to know Him once again. This passage in Matthew makes it plainly clear as well that if we do not "know Him" we will not be welcomed into heaven.

So what are we to do? There is such an unimaginably diverse group of people calling themselves Christians these days with an even more diverse set of beliefs...How can we possibly even begin to know the Truth and begin to set aside man's religion and traditions in favor of worshipping in Spirit and in Truth? Well, it's the most simple thing - and the most difficult thing - we could ever do. We need to collectively decide that we are Christ-followers, adherent to the Word above all else, before we are anything else. Before we are men or women, before we are Americans or Mexicans, before we are white or black or red or brown, before we are Catholics or Protestants...Before anything else, we are children of God, and we seek only His Truth.

Then we pray, and we listen, carefully. Only then can God begin to clear away the dross of man's misunderstandings and allow His Spirit to begin to teach us all things. Only then can we quit destructive bickering over doctrines and theologies and begin constructive discussion regarding Biblical Truth. Most importantly, only then will we begin to know Christ more fully, more intimately, as we were created to do, and take those first steps towards being made in His Image; the Bride, unified and purified.



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Water and Dust

Recently I saw a picture of a man. He was teaching and coming out of his mouth was a torrent of mud. Immediately the words "water and dust" came to my mind, and I knew in the Spirit what this meant. The man was teaching from the Word, which was represented by the water, as in Ephesians 5:26. But he was also teaching out of his flesh, which was represented by the dust, as in Psalms 103:14. When the two mixed, it made this terrible mud spewing from his mouth.

Even the world knows that a confused word can "muddy the waters" and that "crystal clear" clarity of word and intent are preferable for teaching. Anything else is "clear as mud". So obviously this teacher was issuing forth a confused word, a confused message, with the potential to confuse his audience on any topic covered. When this is applied to teaching of the Word, we have a grave issue here.

Believers without solid foundation either in the Word or in relationship with God can easily be swept away by the torrent of the teachings of man. They have no spiritual maturity or discernment to lead them to the Truth, which is what we need to hold onto when this flood comes. Knowing our Father's voice (John 10:27), having the Word hidden in our heart (Psalms 119:11), this is where discernment comes from and is our defense against wrong teaching and bad doctrine or theology.

So part of this picture was in discernment of what I was seeing in the natural, a warning against bad teaching. But the flipside of that same coin is guarding against being guilty of doing the same. The Word tells us that not many should become teachers and that those who teach will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1). So when we do feel like we have a word for someone, or feel like God is giving us a word for a group of people, we should test that word against the only thing that lasts forever, God's Word (Isaiah 40:8). We should make sure that what He wants to say is all we allow to come out of our mouths, not embellishing or straying from His message.

I Timothy 1:3-7 directs us further;

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions." (ESV)

How many of us have run across teachers like that? Constantly teaching from the prophetic books and speculating on all manner of weirdness having nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? They have vain discussions specifically designed to lift up their own fame and following and glory, doing nothing to increase the fame of Jesus or to bring Glory to His Name. I love the Word's use of the phrase "promote speculation rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith". You can't do both. It also clarifies that they are "without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions". Don't miss for a moment that those to whom the letter was written were instructed to "charge" these people not to teach this way. Not all conflict in the church is of man, some of it is God trying to correct man's behavior, and more often than not, that comes through another man.

So what does this mean then? Out of fear of judgment should we refuse to open our mouths when we feel the Spirit urging us to speak? No, this sin would be like the sin of teaching out of the flesh. Instead we should be open to the Spirit that He may be allowed to speak through us, but continually guard our heart and build on the foundation that God is building in us so that we will not be deceived, and in turn deceive others.

And we can see from I Timothy above that when we see someone teaching in this wrong way, we should charge them to teach only what God is saying in the Spirit, and not out of their flesh. This may not sound like the comfortable church setting you have become familiar with, but it is what we are commanded to do. Besides, are we to be friends of man or of God?

Be greatly blessed!!